Archive for the 'Religion' Category



Let Him Who Has No Metaphor Sell His Robe And Buy One

BY Herschel Smith
3 days, 21 hours ago

Midland Daily News:

Since this verse comes up frequently in discussions of gun control, let’s destroy this argument once and for all. First, let us examine the full context of the verse by including the following two verses. “He said to them, ‘But now, let him who has a purse take it, and likewise a bag. And let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one. For I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled in me, ‘And he was reckoned with transgressors’; for what is written about me has its fulfillment.’ And they said, ‘Look, Lord, here are two swords.’ And he said to them, ‘It is enough.’

The New Oxford Annotated Bible has this to say about the passage. “An example of Jesus’ fondness for striking metaphors, but the disciples take it literally. The sword apparently meant to Jesus a preparation to live by one’s own resources against hostility. The natural meaning of verse 38 is that the disciples supposed he spoke of an actual sword, only to learn that two swords were sufficient for the whole enterprise, that is, were not to be used at all.”

Anyone who has read the Gospels knows that Jesus was fond of metaphors. Matthew 23:24 – “You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!” Or Mark 10:25 – “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Clearly, Jesus had no intention of inflicting either of these painful actions upon any camels. So, presuming that everything Jesus said was to be taken literally is groundless.

Jesus frequently used physical objects (seeds, lamps, vineyards, coins, lost sheep, etc.) to teach universal truths, and the same is true of the two swords. This interpretation is supported by Matthew 10:34: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth, but a sword,” (another verse often misquoted by gun advocates). In proper context, Jesus did not mean a physical sword that cuts up and bloodies the family, but a spiritual and moral one that may divide families nonphysically.

Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman labels a literal interpretation of Luke 22:36 as an absurd contradiction. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus teaches peace.

[ ... ]

Therefore, the words of Jesus in Luke 22:36 are not to be understood literally, that he would have his disciples furnish themselves with swords. His meaning is that, wherever they went and a door was opened for the preaching of the Gospel, they would have many adversaries. They would be met with violence, followed by rage and persecution. The phrase expresses the danger they will be exposed to.

Obviously the author is a believer in German so-called “higher criticism” (Source, Form and Redaction criticism).  This is so “yesterday” that most churches who believe this are dead or dying and certainly waning in influence.  But apparently they are still around causing trouble for folks.

To be sure there are different types of literature in the Bible, allegory, apocalyptic and so on.  Each in turn must be interpreted within the correct hermeneutical framework in order to get the right meaning.  But this particular assessment violates the most basic principle of all interpretation.  The more complex passages are interpreted in light of the simpler, and any deliverance you might concoct that runs contrary to the warp and woof of the balance of Scripture is obviously wrong and you need to go back to the beginning and try again.

Even if Jesus had intended to convey an additional (or even another) interpretation of what he said there, He didn’t rebuke them for having the items they counted in order to answer the master’s question.  The disciples weren’t holding metaphors – they were holding fixed-blade swords.  Jesus didn’t tell them to throw them away, even if our detractor is correct in his assessment of the passage (and I claim that he’s not).  The disciples had swords before Jesus told them to find themselves a weapon, and they had they afterwards.  The assessment fails at every turn.

Additionally, as I mentioned before, this assessment fails to consider the warp and woof of Scripture.  I have never turned to this passage for demonstration of the right and even duty of self defense.  As I’ve summarized before:

I am afraid there have been too many centuries of bad teaching endured by the church, but it makes sense to keep trying.  As I’ve explained before, the simplest and most compelling case for self defense lies in the decalogue.  Thou shall not murder means thou shall protect life.

God’s law requires [us] to be able to defend the children and helpless.  “Relying on Matthew Henry, John Calvin and the Westminster standards, we’ve observed that all Biblical law forbids the contrary of what it enjoins, and enjoins the contrary of what it forbids.”  I’ve tried to put this in the most visceral terms I can find.

God has laid the expectations at the feet of heads of families that they protect, provide for and defend their families and protect and defend their countries.  Little ones cannot do so, and rely solely on those who bore them.  God no more loves the willing neglect of their safety than He loves child abuse.  He no more appreciates the willingness to ignore the sanctity of our own lives than He approves of the abuse of our own bodies and souls.  God hasn’t called us to save the society by sacrificing our children or ourselves to robbers, home invaders, rapists or murderers. Self defense – and defense of the little ones – goes well beyond a right.  It is a duty based on the idea that man is made in God’s image.  It is His expectation that we do the utmost to preserve and defend ourselves when in danger, for it is He who is sovereign and who gives life, and He doesn’t expect us to be dismissive or cavalier about its loss.

This same sort of thinking can be applied on a larger scale to states and nations as so expertly done by professor Darrell Cole in Good Wars (First Things), relying on the theology of both Calvin and Aquinas.  But this is a bridge too far for some Christians who are just now dealing with the notion that they might be in danger.

Now a word of advice for the pastor who proffered this laughable interpretation.  It’s things like this that cause congregants to lose respect for the pulpit, and nothing screams the irrelevance of the sermon more than the Biblical impossibility of the pronouncements of the pastor (or in other words, the inconsistency of what he says with the balance of Scripture).  It’s just best to leave your own political aberrations out of the pulpit and teach the Bible.

Prior: Let Him Who Has No Gun Sell His Robe And Buy One

Why Does My Son Play With Guns?

BY Herschel Smith
4 days, 23 hours ago

Questions from Cleveland:

My son brandished a wooden train track in a plastic bridge.

“It’s a shooter!” he said, pointing it at me. “I’m spraying you in the face with water.”

“We don’t shoot at people,” I said, by rote. It was an oft-repeated directive when my little brother was into guns and cowboys.

But my mind was churning. Where did my almost 4-year-old get this stuff? How did he know what a gun was? We don’t own any guns, aside from a water blaster shaped like an alligator. He’s never seen any violent TV show or movie. Is playing with guns just inborn in boys?

“This connection is likely — like most things — a combination of genetics and environment,” said Joshua Weiner, an Arlington, Virginia-based psychiatrist who specializes in children and adolescents. “Boys probably have some yet-unknown gene which contributes to this behavior.”

Just like girls must have some ingrained penchant for shoes and purses. My 20-month-daughter adores purses, whether it’s my purse or a kids gardening tote she stuffs with trains, puzzle pieces and plastic food. She drags them around the house. And she is constantly playing with my shoes, particularly a pair of shiny tortoiseshell ballet flats.

At first I didn’t want to encourage the purse-and-shoe thing. It’s such a stereotype. “But she’s just emulating you,” said my mom. So I gave in. I gave her an old Lululemon bag to stuff. And I bought her a fluffy bunny purse for Christmas.

I don’t intend to ever buy my son a toy gun.

But I’m not especially worried that he pretends to have one, especially if in his dreamworld his gun shoots water. Should I be?

Probably not.

No study has proved that pretend gunplay leads to violent behavior. And most child experts agree that forbidding gunplay only makes it more powerful and enticing.

Besides, gunplay can even help kids make sense of their world, by letting them “kill” bad guys.

God made men and women to be different, and gave the responsibility of provider and primary protector to the man.  It’s His design.  Since it is His design, he gave men and women the genetics and disposition to effect those ends.  Of course these genetics and dispositions can be turned towards evil, but so can just about anything else.  That’s irrelevant to the primary goals.  It has been this way from the beginning of time.  Understand it, don’t fight against it.

I’m glad I could clear that up.

God, Guns And I-594

BY Herschel Smith
1 week, 1 day ago

It had to happen.  Some misguided clerics think they need to tell folks that God like I-594.

Charles Stephens, the show’s director, was deeply affected by the tragic shooting at SPU. “We rehearsed there, and everything was going great, and then there was the shooting that happened,” Stephens said.

He decided to reschedule the concert, this time as a fundraiser for the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility. That’s the main group pushing I-594. The initiative would institute comprehensive background checks on firearms.

Stephens approached Katie Ladd and asked if he could use her church, the United Methodist Church. She said yes.

“To be a follower of Jesus, who I believe is the Prince of Peace, we have to make stands for peace,” Ladd said. Pastor Ladd feels it’s her responsibility as a Christian to advocate for anti-gun violence laws.

“When asked what the greatest commandment was, you know Jesus says Love the Lord G-d with all of your heart, your mind, your soul and your strength and your neighbor as yourself,” Ladd said. “It seems to me, it’s pretty basic thing to say that we don’t want to kill one another.”

So here’s a question for you lady.  Since you’re so big on not wanting people to perish at the hands of others, how about when a home invader enters your home with the intent of raping and murdering your children?  Isn’t it the case that you’re hating your children and wishing death on them at the hands of the perpetrator by not defending your home?

Notes From HPS

BY Herschel Smith
3 weeks, 2 days ago

David Codrea:

“That is nonsense,” he responded to the contention that arms are needed to defend freedom, revealing just where he stood (still stands?) on citizens resisting the tyranny he now warns against. “If the government wants to take your rights away or imprison you for whatever reason, your owning an assault rifle is not going to stop it.

Trying to take away my guns would be a very messy and ugly affair, and notice how Savage doesn’t say who exactly is going to do the taking.  Advocates of gun bans never consider that they advocate putting someone else in harm’s way.

Mike Vanderboegh has a long and interesting post on Ralph Peters’ book “Wars of Blood and Faith.”  Mike remarks:

Peters’ eye is focused on the world picture of 2007, not the American domestic reality as we experience it now after 7 years, most of them reflecting the neo-tyrannies of the Obama regime. Yet Peters’ description of the elites of both parties and of the permanent Mandarin bureaucracies that serve them is even more accurate today. And the disconnect between their collectivist ideologies /slash/ godless-religion and the deeply held beliefs of those of us who still revere the Founders, seek liberty, and worship the God of Abraham, Moses, David and the Christ could not be any more stark than that between us and the beheading savages of the Islamic State.

As I have observed before, we are a nation divided along the answer to the existential question, “Does the government serve the people or do the people serve the government?” This is a political question, yes. It is an intellectual question. It is a question of competing and mutually exclusive world views. It is thus also a moral question. It is a religious question. It is a question of blood and belief, to use Peters’ words.

I enjoyed Peters’ book and can always take away something from his interviews.  But I don’t always agree with him, and one specific black mark on his book is its tendency to lump all religious view into the same category.

But I too disagree with Peters and his diagnosis of the malady.  I must unfortunately wax philosophical for a moment and recommend that you read the first chapter of Gordon H. Clark’s “Religion, Reason and Revelation.”  Clark utterly demolishes all attempts to define religion by showing how those who would do so set out boundary conditions for the definition that reason in a circle (or assume the consequent).  It’s best to discuss these matters in terms of world view, or philosophical systems.  Christianity is a system, or world view, as much as Dewey’s instrumentalism, Mill’s utilitarianism, communism or any other ‘ism.  It just happens to be the truth, but that is beside the point.

The point is that communism is a faith as much as Christianity is a faith, and it is much of a world view as Christianity is a world view.  As far as Islam is concerned, it is a political faith more than anything else, and a totalitarian one at that.  There are many manifestations of evil, but the most prominent one in politics is totalitarianism.  Separating Islamists from communists isn’t a very useful or meaningful bifurcation, and I think Peters has missed the boat on this one.  Yesterday it was the communists, today it’s Islam, today and tomorrow it’s the contemporary manifestation of communism in America.  They are different faces of evil.  But “there is nothing new under the sun,” as the wise man said.

Christian Leaders Say No To Christian Militia

BY Herschel Smith
2 months ago

I have previously attempted to explain and rebuke the pacifist sickness that affects the Christian Church, but it seems that the examples of said sickness are sadly numerous and still surfacing.  Apparently, many Christian leaders would rather see their parishioners and congregants beheaded than defended.

The Kurdish government wants to give weapons to Iraqi Christians so that they can defend themselves, but there are (not surprisingly) Christian leaders who are actually against the giving of arms.

The lending of guns to the Christians is desired by President Masud Barzani of the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan, who said he is willing to commit to the idea. But Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako I responded that the idea of weapons to the Christians would be destructive, saying “the forces of the state should take charge of this defense” and that such a diversity of militias “can destroy Iraq”.

Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai also gave his objections to the idea of a Christian militia, saying that it would be “illegitimate” and that it would result in “law of the jungle and an increase in crime.”

Both Catholic and Evangelical voices objected to the protest of the Patriarch on giving weapons to the Christians. Kishore Jayabalan, Rome director of the Catholic organization, Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, said

I understand why the patriarch doesn’t want to see Christian militias in place of the state’s protection of all its citizens, as it is a fundamental duty of a state to do so… But the problem is that [state protection] isn’t happening, and something has to be done to stop the gruesome attacks of the Islamic State.Jayabalan also made it clear that a militia is the only choice for the Christians because no nation is helping them:

What authority can they appeal to? Western governments won’t act effectively because they fear being seen as sectarianEvangelical pastor Michel Youssef, an advocate of armed Christian civilians in Iraq, said:

only way to protect our families and friends from attacks, because we are tired of waiting for an action from the government, which is preoccupied with politics and never looks after us.Benjamin Harnwell, founder of the Catholic Rome-based think tank the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, said

The right to defend oneself is a clear doctrine; it’s a fundamental human right, an inalienable right, and people lend the exercise of that right to the state…The first duty of the state is to protect the people, but if the state is unable to fulfil this, then the right to defend oneself reverts to the person, because such a right cannot ever be taken from that person — and nor can it ever be given away; it cannot be ‘alienated.’ This is literally what we mean when we say the right to defend oneself is inalienable … The fact that the state is unable to defend its citizens means there is already the law of the jungle in operation — it’s the perfect example of lawlessness… And preventing minorities who are being systematically wiped out from defending themselves will only work in favor of the aggressor.

One source close to the Vatican even said that the objections toward a Christian militia was a sign of appeasement and acquiescence to ISIS.

Christians definitely need to form a militia, under the liberty of God and the natural law of man, they must become militant.

But sadly, they won’t.  They have waited too late to “weapon up.”  And witness what happens without self defense.  Pat Dollard links a Live Leak video in which ISIS fighters promise a “Christian” (I have no idea if he really was a Christian) converting to Islam that Allah is merciful and he will be spared.  The man converts, and the ISIS fighters promptly behead him anyway.

There is one thing in particular that needs to be corrected in the perspective cited above, and it is that “The first duty of the state is to protect the people, but if the state is unable to fulfil this, then the right to defend oneself reverts to the person, because such a right cannot ever be taken from that person …”

No, and a thousand times no.  It is not either-or, it is both-and, and the order is wrong.  The state is responsible, to be sure, for protecting nations against invasion, and our pitiful nation refuses to meet even the simplest of responsibilities like this by securing the Southern border.

But let’s be clear.  The first duty to protect rests with a man and his home, not the state protection for the man or his family.

Do you understand?

Gentlemen, Prepare To Defend Yourselves!

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 3 weeks ago

Glenn Reynolds recently linked an article at World Net Daily where Christians are being told to weapon up and fight back against jihadist fighters in Nigeria because the government won’t protect them against Boko Haram and others who intend them harm.  This kicked off a conversation between me and my son over the response of the Christian church worldwide, a church I have variously called weak, pathetic, pitiful, disgusting and repulsive (I have that right because I’m a Christian).

I have [previously] asked when is the last time a reader had even heard a prayer in worship for Christians being slaughtered across the globe? (This week was the first indication that anyone cares, with a note from Leith Anderson, head of the National Association of Evangelicals, to pray for Iraq, after Christians have been slaughtered and driven from their homes for more than three years (and the church in Mesopotamia having disintegrated).  What?  No imprecatory prayers at all?  We’re too busy trying to disarm each other to pay attention to the suffering of Christians rather than our own comfort.  My son, in disagreement (of course) with the anemia of the global church, demands to know why we aren’t arming Christians across the world from the offering plate.

To this I explained that there are a number of complicating factors in such a proposal.  First of all, arming Christians in Iraq or Nigeria involves export of firearms which falls under a whole gaggle of federal laws.  To avoid that the church would have to find a weapons trafficker to get the arms to the Christians under attack.  In the unlikely event that a pastor anywhere had the stomach for this, the weapons cannot be gotten to the Christians now anyway.  They are surrounded and cut off, or scattered to the four winds as they run for their very lives.

A good summary statement of where the Christians are at the moment might be this: they waited too late to think about self defense.  They waited too late not because of the mistaken notion that the jihadists would have mercy on them, but because there is a basic sickness in the worldwide church.  This sickness, which is the root cause of the problem, is anti-intellectualism and bad hermeneutics.

Christians justifiably hold high regard for what the Scriptures teach.  But failing proper interpretation and application, unlearned Christians are at the mercy of teachers and pastors who have been brainwashed at liberal seminaries in the art of form, source and redaction criticism, and deconstruction.  Many seminary professors no more believe what the Bible teaches than my dog believes in Newtonian physics.

The Bible gets (intentionally) conflated with social action and a thousand other things, and one consequence of this, just to bring this around to the main subject, is that Christians the world over are in large part pacifists.  The honorific title of “Prince of peace” governs the interpretation of words like “My kingdom is not of this world,” “turn the other check,” and “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.”  That He can become angry and jealous and full of wrath are seldom discussed.  It’s what theologian John Frame calls an “exclusive reduction” of God to one characteristic, like “God is love” (which is poor hermeneutics) versus an “emphasizing reduction” (which can be temporarily useful for teaching).  Passages are ripped out of context without regard to the rules of hermeneutics or other passages of the Bible and the need for logical consistency.

But despite bad hermeneutics, there is no unmitigated promise from God to protect His people without regard to their foolishness, if they will only trust Him for their provisions.  In order to prove this notion false all one must do is find a single example where Christians were killed en masse.  Such an example isn’t hard to find, as it is estimated that Hitler killed some three million Christians during his evil reign in addition to the millions of Jews, including some half a million clergy.  Another instance of Christians perishing at the hands of evil men can be taken from Stalin’s starvation of the Ukraine, what may be called the holocaust by hunger.  Christians were certainly among the seven million souls who perished in the Ukraine in the 1930′s.  So David’s comment that he has never seen the children of the righteous “begging for bread” (Ps 37:25) must be a normative statement rather than a promise.  In fact, the entire approach to interpretation of the so-called “wisdom literature” in the Bible is different from say, didactic (Romans and Ephesians) or apocalyptic (Revelation) literature.

I am afraid there have been too many centuries of bad teaching endured by the church, but it makes sense to keep trying.  As I’ve explained before, the simplest and most compelling case for self defense lies in the decalogue.  Thou shall not murder means thou shall protect life.

God’s law requires [us] to be able to defend the children and helpless.  “Relying on Matthew Henry, John Calvin and the Westminster standards, we’ve observed that all Biblical law forbids the contrary of what it enjoins, and enjoins the contrary of what it forbids.”  I’ve tried to put this in the most visceral terms I can find.

God has laid the expectations at the feet of heads of families that they protect, provide for and defend their families and protect and defend their countries.  Little ones cannot do so, and rely solely on those who bore them.  God no more loves the willing neglect of their safety than He loves child abuse.  He no more appreciates the willingness to ignore the sanctity of our own lives than He approves of the abuse of our own bodies and souls.  God hasn’t called us to save the society by sacrificing our children or ourselves to robbers, home invaders, rapists or murderers. Self defense – and defense of the little ones – goes well beyond a right.  It is a duty based on the idea that man is made in God’s image.  It is His expectation that we do the utmost to preserve and defend ourselves when in danger, for it is He who is sovereign and who gives life, and He doesn’t expect us to be dismissive or cavalier about its loss.

This same sort of thinking can be applied on a larger scale to states and nations as so expertly done by professor Darrell Cole in Good Wars (First Things), relying on the theology of both Calvin and Aquinas.  But this is a bridge too far for some Christians who are just now dealing with the notion that they might be in danger.

And danger it is.  If it isn’t out of control SWAT teams in wrong address raids or home invasions by felons, Christians might begin to think about the possibility that jihad will show up on our own shores (jihad version 4.0 includes mass executions, burying people alive and beheading of children).  And if it isn’t that, consider that illegal immigrants have been seen walking armed and in military fatigues in tactical formation (“Ranger file”) across Texas farmland.

But the most pressing danger isn’t ISIS, or felons, or illegal immigrants.  The most pressing danger is the intransigence of the global Christian church in refusing to weapon up and defend themselves.  The Christians in Iraq waited too late, have lost their homes and all of their belongings, and are on the run or sitting on a mountain top thirsting to death (and thirst is a bad way to perish).  I just don’t how to say it any clearer than my favorite actor, Sam Elliot.  If you won’t listen to me, listen to him.

Prior: Christians, The Second Amendment And The Duty Of Self Defense

North Carolina, Harnett County Sheriff Recommends Arming Yourself

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 3 weeks ago

Guns.com:

With a recent spike in crime, a North Carolina sheriff is following suit of other law enforcement officials across the country by taking what some consider a controversial stance, encouraging area residents to arm themselves for their own protection, a local ABC affiliate reported.

The once rural area of Harnett County has seen a growth in population and with it, crime and violence have increased as well, with a dramatic surge over the last few weeks. In fact, crime has gotten so bad that some residents admit they’re afraid to leave their homes.

Sheriff Larry Rollins thinks the increase can be attributed to gangs and drugs, and in an attempt to combat the growing problem, about 100 people gathered at a local church for a community meeting Monday evening to discuss possible solutions.

One woman in attendance wants to believe that her faith is enough to give her peace – she goes to church and prays – but admits that she’s still afraid of the growing violence.

“I believe in God, but I am still afraid of what is going on,” said resident Lynda Jenks. “I am afraid to go off very far, for very long. I am afraid of break-ins. I am afraid.”

Sheriff Rollins then gives the most succinct, best counsel I’ve seen from a LEO concerning your own safety.

“When I am out with my family, even though I am a cop, I don’t go anywhere without a gun,” Rollins said during a speech at the meeting. “I mean it’s sad we have to have that attitude, but I am going to protect myself and my family. I want my deputies at your house just as fast as they can when you got a problem, but you better be able to take care of business until we get there if you have to protect your family.”

For the poor lady who is (justifiably) scared, I know it’s tough, but I don’t think that is the best posture for her or anyone else.  I recommend that we remove emotion, fear and even vigilantism from the calculus, and see the need to own and bear arms not it terms of a failure to trust God (she obviously has had some bad teaching somewhere along the line), but rather in terms of positively trusting God.

God has told us that we must be able and ready to defend ourselves and our families, and refusal to do so is a failure to believe in His promises that mankind will face evil until He returns.  In other words, I see things exactly opposite her, and it is my view that she should find liberating and empowering, rather than the pacifist belief that God will protect us no matter how foolish we are.

Good for Sheriff Rollins.

A Desperate Cry From Iraq’s Christians

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 1 week ago

Breitbart:

Iraq’s Christian leaders have just made a desperate cry for help. Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako, head of Iraq’s Catholic church, has issued an appeal “to all who have a living conscience in Iraq and all the world.”

The situation for Iraq’s Christians has been steadily deteriorating ever since the 2003 invasion, in part because the U.S. never acknowledged that Christians were being targeted by Islamists and did not prioritize protection of Christians or other minorities.

But with the recent sweep through Mosul and other Iraqi cities by the jihadi group ISIS, Iraq’s Christians look to be on the verge of genocide.

On June 16th it was reported that ISIS had marked the doors of Christians in red. Patriarch Sako’s letter confirms that rumor. While no one yet knows what this ominous sign foretells, Sako and other Christian leaders are pleading with the world to intervene before the meaning of the sign is made clear.

Oh, I think the meaning is clear.  Convert, pay jizya, or die.  Of course America ignored the plight of the Christians during “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”  The leadership didn’t care.

Nor does the leadership care today.  In fact, it runs well beyond political leadership to church leadership.  While we listen to sermons of introspection and the social gospel, Christians around the world are slaughtered.  When is the last time you even heard a prayer in a worship service for the suffering Christians worldwide?

American “Christians” are too busy trying to disarm each other (when we should be trying to arm each other and prepare for conflict), or focused on the disembowelment of what’s left of Christian theology in America to notice that fellow believers are dying or to say a thing about it.  Soft and weak, we are.  And very self centered.

Shame on the weak, pathetic, pitiful, disgusting, repulsive American Christianity.  Shame, now and in eternity.

The PCUSA On Guns

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 1 week ago

Presbyterian Church (USA) on guns:

Among other things, the Assembly’s action calls for:

  • formation of support, healing and advocacy groups for those who have experienced gun violence in their families;
  • opposition to legislation that exempts gun manufacturers and marketers from legal liability and/or financial accountability for the medical and security costs of predictable gun misuse and availability to criminals, the unstable, and the self-destructive;
  • opposition to “stand your ground” and other legislation that may entitle gun owners to shoot before taking alternative measures (such as relying on law enforcement and/or other de-escalation techniques) in perceived defense of persons or property;
  • encouraging church sessions and PC(USA) entities that own property to declare their particular premises and gatherings to be gun-free zones;
  • raising the age for handgun ownership to 21;
  • supporting legislation to ban semiautomatic assault weapons, armor-piercing handgun ammunition and .50-caliber rifles; and
  • advocacy in support of state and federal legislation to regulate ammunition.

I’m not part of the PCUSA, but having attended Reformed Theological Seminary, I know something about the history of Presbyterianism in the U.S.  The problem started with the Auburn Affirmation, and even before then from the theological liberalism that led directly to that abomination.

Notice that the denomination doesn’t just engage in tactical blundering and hot air.  To be sure, there’s plenty of that to go around.  Reliance on LEOs during period of peril to your life or the lives of your loved ones means that the fight is over by the time (8 – 15 minutes) a LEO arrives.

They go beyond their tactical incompetence and recommend bankruptcy of gun manufacturers when their weapons are misused (similar recommendations for Stanley, Kobalt, Craftsman and other manufacturers of hammers probably won’t be forthcoming when crimes are committed with hammers).  And if that’s not good enough, they recommend new laws that would end with confiscation and civil war when SWAT teams are sent to the doors of patriotic Americans who won’t allow their means of self defense to be confiscated.  So the PCUSA recommends what would inevitably become a bloody mess with cops laying dead in the streets and innocent citizens laying dead in their doorways.

In the mean time, they leave men and women undefended because of their turn to politics to address the theological problems of mankind.  We’ve discussed God’s views of the requirement to defend your loved ones.  The simplest case for killing those who would bring harm to your family lies in the decalogue.

God’s law requires [us] to be able to defend the children and helpless.  “Relying on Matthew Henry, John Calvin and the Westminster standards, we’ve observed that all Biblical law forbids the contrary of what it enjoins, and enjoins the contrary of what it forbids.”  I’ve tried to put this in the most visceral terms I can find.

God has laid the expectations at the feet of heads of families that they protect, provide for and defend their families and protect and defend their countries.  Little ones cannot do so, and rely solely on those who bore them.  God no more loves the willing neglect of their safety than He loves child abuse.  He no more appreciates the willingness to ignore the sanctity of our own lives than He approves of the abuse of our own bodies and souls.  God hasn’t called us to save the society by sacrificing our children or ourselves to robbers, home invaders, rapists or murderers. Self defense – and defense of the little ones – goes well beyond a right.  It is a duty based on the idea that man is made in God’s image.  It is His expectation that we do the utmost to preserve and defend ourselves when in danger, for it is He who is sovereign and who gives life, and He doesn’t expect us to be dismissive or cavalier about its loss.

So while you claim to be a lover of the children, you actually advocate abuse of children because you would disarm the very people with the sworn duty to protect, nurture and provide for them.

The PCUSA is directing its people to run their lives contrary to God’s law, while trying to implement warmed over, washed up hippie ideology as a solution to what ails mankind.  Thus goes perishing denominations.

More Love From The Religion Of Peace

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 2 weeks ago

ABC News:

The video, set to sweetly lilting religious hymns, is chilling. Islamic militants are shown knocking on the door of a Sunni police major in the dead of night in an Iraqi city. When he answers, they blindfold and cuff him. Then they carve off his head with a knife in his own bedroom.

The 61-minute video was recently posted online by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an al-Qaida splinter group of Sunni extremists. The intent was to terrorize Sunnis in Iraq’s army and police forces and deepen their already low morale.

CNS News:

While hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are affected by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s takeover of key cities including the Ninawa (Nineveh) provincial capital, Mosul, minority Christians – some of whom trace their origins to the earliest years of Christianity – are among those with the most to lose.

In previous years, Christians fleeting violence in Baghdad or elsewhere in the south often headed for the Mosul area. The Nineveh Plain formed the historic homeland of Assyrians, an ancient non-Arab ethnic group in Iraq. Main Christian denominations include Chaldean Catholic, Assyrian, Syrian Orthodox, Armenian and evangelicals.

Syria was another key destination for Christians who were able to leave Iraq, but the civil war there made life even riskier across the border than at home, prompting some to return.

For many Christians in the Mosul area now, the autonomous Kurdish region to the north-east may offer the best short-term hope – if they are able to cross over. Chaldean archbishop Amel Nona told the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) he believed all Mosul’s Christians had left the city, and spoke of efforts to find emergency accommodation in ancient Christian villages in the Nineveh Plain.

As the jihadists swept into Mosul this week, they reportedly looted and torched churches, raised their black “there is no god but Allah” flags and started demanding that women wear the Islamic veil.

The Assyrian International News Agency identified two of the targeted churches as the Chaldean Church of the Holy Spirit, and an Armenian church under construction, which it said was bombed.

Barnabas Fund, an aid agency that supports minority Christians in Islamic countries, said the attacks on churches were “a clear statement from ISIS that they are no longer welcome in Mosul.”

“It is feared that this latest exodus could be the final death knell for the Christians of Iraq,” said Barnabas international director Patrick Sookdheo.

World Net Daily:

About 200 Americans under contract with the Department of Defense at Balad Air Force Base in Iraq are trapped by the al-Qaida-inspired jihadists who have seized control of two cities and are now threatening Baghdad, according to WND sources.

The U.S. contractors are at Balad to help the Pentagon prepare the facilities for the delivery of the F-16 aircraft the Obama administration has agreed to provide the Iraqi government.

The surrounded Americans said they currently are under ISIS fire from small arms, AK47s, and rocket propelled grenades, or RPGs.

The contractors so far have been able to hold the base, but those on the scene reported it was only a matter of time before the ISIS terrorists succeeded in breaking through the perimeter. The sources confirmed the contractors were still under siege, despite an Associated Press report Thursday, citing U.S. officials, that three planeloads of Americans were being evacuated from Balad.


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